Erdoğan’s “New Turkey”: End of Pragmatism?
On June 7, 2015, Turkish constituents will be visiting the ballot box to elect a new leader. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has won seven consecutive elections (three general, three local and one Presidential) in the past 13 years, is once again the main contender of this election cycle.
This time, however, there are different dynamics shaping the political scene. For one, opposition parties wage a wiser election campaign this time. Rather than focusing on ideological divides (Turkish/Kurdish; laicite/Islam), and blaming the AKP for polarizing the nation (which has been a valid critique that surprisingly did not gain them much leverage in previous elections), they prioritize social policies pertaining to welfare and democratization. The constructive language that they adopt in their election programs and the concrete steps they lay out online, through social media, and on the ground, through political rallies, instil in the constituents greater confidence, and more importantly, relief that the AKP is no longer the sole contender for Turkey’s progressive and innovative political party slot.